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20121010
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geography has contributed to densely populated cities, and made japan one of the most highly urbanized countries in the world. over 80% of its population lives in urban areas. tokyo is japan's largest city. as the capital, it is the focus of most legal, pitical, and economic activities in the nation. most large corporations have their headquarters here. everything tends to concentrate in tokyo. 32 million people, or one out of every four japanese live within a 30-mile radius. while tokyo casts a large shadow, it covers only three percent of the total land mass of japan. land prices here have skyrocketed. a booming economy in the 1980s and early 1990s saw profits go into real estate speculation, contributing to a bubble of inflated values. affordable housing was in short supply. more and more people began moving out to the suburbs to fulfill their dream of owning a home. by the mid-90s, japan hit an economic slump and thasian economic crisis of 1997 hit. the bubble burst and land prices began to decline, but not by much. housing prices in tokyo are falling, but they're still at very hig
-brick city of albi in the south of france. henri grew up in a world of chateaus and privilege in a family living on the fruits of its noble past. but a france governed by the middle class was losing its taste for nobility. like many aristocrats, his father alphonse retreated into rural pastimes-- riding and hunting. an eccentric, he looked wistfully back to the family's glorious past. alphonse had married his first cousin adele, a common practice in a class anxious to preserve the purity of its bloodlines. but the results of inbreeding for henri were uncommonly cruel. his legs were short and weak. he broke each of them in early adolescence and stopped growing when he was 14. he was just under five feet tall. his head, hands and torso continued to develop. but his stunted legs made walking painful for the rest of his life. denied the aristocratic pleasures of riding and hunting, henri turned to sketching and painting rural scenes. he had a flair for it and in 1882, at the age of 18, he moved to paris to study painting. it was a move that would change the direction of his art and his life.
artist joan miro. born in the catalan city of barcelona in 1893, miro has remained close to the land and its people. but as a young man in paris, he joined th friends like max ernst and jean arp in the emerging surrealist movement of the 1920s. in his painting "the farm," miro's characteristic symbols and themes began to appear: serpentine shapes, checkerboard patterns, infinite sce represented by the moon or a star. in 1922, he painted "the farmer's wife," the ancestress of countless female symbols that also became a continuing motif in miro's art. in 1924, his art broke free of gravitational constraints in theurrealistic world of "harlequin's carnival." over the years, he developed his own personal symbolism, and in the 1950s, the scale of his art grew with such works as a mural at harrd university and "the wall ofhe sun" for unesco in pas. as his work grew in size, miro continued what he termed "a process of simplification." he stated, "little by little, i have managed to reach a point at which i use no more than a small number of forms and colors this process found a culminating
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